Tesla Australia’s Heath Walker told TMR last week that the carmaker is holding “regular” meetings with government representatives about the future of electric vehicles in Australia.
While Tesla may be willing to go it alone, other carmakers have arguably withheld EV or plug-in hybrid models from Australia due to, amongst other things, the lack of government support and charging infrastructure.
And now, the Energy Suppliers Association of Australia (ESAA) has called on state and federal governments to get behind electric vehicles.
In a report commissioned by the ESAA and researched by Energeia, just three in every 10,000 passenger cars sold in Australia feature an electric motor.
This compares to more than 800 in 10,000 from Norway, which is considered to be a world leader in the uptake of EVs to the point where the all-electric Nissan Leaf has managed to top the monthly sales charts.
The report claims high purchase costs are a major hurdle Australian buyers face when considering an EV, and that government subsidies could boost interest and sales.
Government incentives suggested by the report include lower (or zero) taxes for EV purchases. Of course, the lack of right-hand-drive EV models has also limited options for Australian buyers.
"It's been on the supply side that manufacturers have really struggled, [and] the lack of policy support hasn’t helped either,” report author Melanie Koerner from Energeia said, speaking with Fairfax.
That lack of choice for Australian buyers - who are limited to “about five” EV variants - compares to the likes of the US where 22 new EV models were introduced in the last two years alone.
Benefits from an increased uptake in EV ownership would include lower tailpipe emissions and greater security for Australia’s supply of fossil fuels, the report claims.
Energeia predicts EVs will account for 18 percent of all vehicles in Australia by 2035, or around 3.4 million vehicles, but increased government support could push this figure as high as four million.
The economic benefits from a national fleet of four million EVs is estimated in the report at around $1.2 billion, on top of a reduced reliance on overseas oil which could see 2.7 million fewer barrels imported into Australia per year.
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